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Publisher's Summary

Politics is a test of wills in a sharp, funny, and emotional novel about truth and consequences by the New York Times bestselling author.

Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House - always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral.

With seven words - "Cleo McDougal is not a good person" - the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life.

Enter Cleo's "regrets list" of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brilliant idea: pick the top ten, make amends during a media blitz, and repair her reputation. But there are regrets, and there are regrets: like her broken relationship with her sister, her affair with a law school professor...and the regret too big to even say out loud.

But with risk comes reward, and as Cleo makes both peace and amends with her past, she becomes more empowered than ever to tackle her career, confront the hypocrites out to destroy her, and open her heart to what matters most - one regret at a time.

©2020 Allison Winn Scotch (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Cleo, who is reviewing a list of personal regrets currently numbering 233, is portrayed by Whelan as reflective in addressing her mistakes and accepting in assessing her past. Whelan's portrayals of other characters, including Cleo's moody teenage son, Lucas, help to distinguish them and breathe life into their personalities. Her deliberate pacing fits well with Cleo's highly controlled persona.” --AudioFile Magazine

“Scotch’s trademark humor and heart are on full display in this expertly plotted and characterized outing. The author’s fans will devour this, and it will win her new readers as well.” --Publishers Weekly 

Editor's Pick

Studying the past to define the future
With a U.S. presidential election only a few months away, I was eager to escape into some political fiction that was, ahem, less anxiety-inducing than our current state of affairs. Thanks to Allison Winn Scotch’s latest novel, Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing, voiced by Julia Whelan—one of my all-time favorite performers—I got my wish. Senator McDougal is an unabashedly ambitious single mom and a potential presidential candidate. She is defined by a fierce independent streak and picks up her father’s habit of cataloging acts of contrition without dwelling too much on these actions. It’s only after her high school rival writes an unflattering op-ed about her that Cleo is finally forced to face—and forgive—her past transgressions. In this story, Scotch also effectively addresses ugly truths about gender-based power dynamics, but offers a much-needed glimmer of hope that things can change for the next generation. —Valerie B., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Encouraging 'Cancel Culture'?

This is the first book that kept my attention even though the main character was un-relatable, annoying, egotistical, and a self-entitled mess:-) I disagreed passionately with her actions under the guise of it being "the right thing to do". This includes a 'public-shaming' incident she initiated with someone from her past - an old mistake she contributed to, which is touted in the book as a positive action which encourages others to publicly shame people in their past as well! Uh, no... the world is not meant to be a big dramatic reality show just for the sake of fluffing egos.

To me, it’s more of a case of "two wrongs don't make a right", and the book never resolves on this 'cancel-culture' shaming nature of her deed. The main character does 'evolve' somewhat towards the end of the book (thankfully). And, despite not being able to connect with this character in any way, the story did force me to evaluate my own opposing thoughts into question. Am I just an old-fashioned 45 year old who is completely out of touch with current-day right and wrong? Nevertheless, because the overall story is engaging and fast-paced, and because I felt bad for the situation involving her Son (stemming, again, from the main character’s own selfish actions) I was able to shelve my annoyance with the main character and easily finish the book. I mean, how can you not finish this book when the Narrator is like the ‘Nicole Kidman’ of narrators! She’s excellent!

21 people found this helpful

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In your face feminism

I’m an ambitious single mom. I wanted to relate to Cleo. I needed this book right to be a a story of how this single mother rose to the top. While I appreciate the rawness Cleo shows, it really is more of a male bashing book than it is a pro-woman book.

9 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable

“F*** that”, she thought, without any sense of apology, without any hit of regret at all. “I’m going to show up just as I am.”

A mid-life coming-of-age story set in the world of politics, specifically a women’s world in politics. Cleo redefines herself, and the world as she knows it, with whit, charm, gumption, bravery, grace, and humor. I loved it! Julia Whelan narrates perfectly!

9 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable, sassy but classy, smart and accurate!

As a Senate staffer, I can attest that pretty much every thing relating to congressional business is spot on. I was hooked from the start. I like how she started the movement and got other women to speak out. I wish there was more mountain moving from such a strong character. I was hoping she’d have more visible victories with her regret project. It was a good book. I’d recommend especially to my friends in DC and outside the beltway. Finished in 2 days.

8 people found this helpful

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Cleo or Chloe?

Julia Whelan, you are my absolute favorite narrator. I will listen to anything you read. (My oxford year made me fall in love with audiobooks.) But I think you call Cleo “Chloe” a few times in this book. I had to stop and go back a couple times. They’re like little Easter eggs. Anyways, I loved this story, especially the retrospection posed is such a different way.

7 people found this helpful

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Made me think, but I hated it.

The premise of the book is very good, because we all have regrets and want do-overs, but regrets should be authentic—not a political scheme to be more powerful. Also, there was too much blah, blah and strung out what could have been interesting.

Save your credit. On a better note, the performance was clear and crisp and added to the weak story.

5 people found this helpful

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  • J.
  • 03-01-21

Ok, ok—I get it

In case you don’t know—it’s harder for women. It’s harder and unfair—men have it easier. In short, this book has a decent story, but every chance the author gets, she states this mantra: men aren’t held to the high standards that women are. These statements are so clearly forced into the chapters that they would make for a fun drinking game. Author mentions wage differences—drink. Author says male politicians don’t have to worry about what they wear—drink. Men get hired more easily—drink. This happens at least once a chapter and makes it seem trite.

3 people found this helpful

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Just okay

It was okay. A main character who is angry and bitter, and only comes around right at the end with an ending that leaves you hanging, like the book is unfinished. Wouldn't necessarily recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Oh - You Definitely Should Read This!

I listen to tons of books. I never write reviews for any of them. This was an absolute delight to listen to. You absolutely should listen yourself!

3 people found this helpful

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Teenage eye rolling and feminism

As a woman, I was interested to read this book following Senator McDougal through her past regrets and current penance... But MY GOD get to the point. There are so many SUPER REPETITIVE off-shoots/side comments about feminism and the struggle for women in a mans world. It’s all the same take on the same issues over and over and over again. Just worded slightly (and most of the time not so slightly) differently. If i could have traded it in i would have. Also you’ll read “his eyes could not have rolled any further back in their sockets” regarding the Cleos son 1000 times.

I don’t love this book

1 person found this helpful